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Author Topic: Could silica gel be used to produce recyclable cat litter?  (Read 5133 times)

vakyou

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Ok so heres the issue: Reusability of silica gel cat litter

Basically silica gel cat litter crystals, absorb the urine up to around a month after which they have to be disposed of, since the crystals cant hold anymore.

What I want to know is whether I could reuse the very same crystals by getting rid of the urine.

What I have thought of is by adding a weak acid to the crystals, in order to get rid of the ammonia. However I am unsure whether the crystals contain dilute ammonia or whether they contain urea. If they contain urea, can anyone suggest a method for removing the urea? And if they do contain ammonia, then how would I go about removing the salt produced from the ammonia-acid reaction?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks
« Last Edit: 22/06/2010 23:33:55 by chris »


 

Offline Bored chemist

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The usual way to reactivate silica gel is to heat it. I wouldn't like to try that in this case.
You might be able to wash a lot of the urea out of the stuff with water then re dry it, but why bother? Silica gel is pretty cheap.
 

vakyou

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Yes but it may be more environmentally friendly if you could reuse it don't you think? If I add lets say, dilute ethanoic acid, ammonium acetate would be formed. Any ideas how to then seperate the silica gel from the ammonium acetate?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Silica gel doesn't dissolve in water. Most components of urine will dissolve. You can wash it and filter it off.
You would then need to leave the gel for most of the water to dry off, then heat it in an oven to completely dry it.
Keeping a cat isn't very environmentally friendly anyway.
 

vakyou

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I was just doing this as a research question for college. Anyways guess it isn't all that feasible
 

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